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The rights in the United States that allow freedom of speech does not in fact relate to academic freedom (Babie, 2021). Academic freedom used to mean that scholars had the ability to research all areas and sides of an issue. However, now with cancel culture such a big part of this country, sides that may be offensive or discriminatory to a person can not be discussed. For professors, academic freedom meant that they had the autonomy to develop their own curriculum and course content, as well as the ability to decide how a student should be assessed (Aftunion, 2018). But those rights as an educator are under constant attack by those with their own ideas of what students should or should not be learning. The ability to have intellectual conversations testing and discussing all sides of an issue are now limited to what is politically correct to talk about.
It is not just at higher level educational institutes where academic freedom is repressed. In public schools, the need to teach towards the Standards of Learning Curriculum shape the content that is allowed in the classroom. There is not the time to explore interests and expand on new concepts unless it is a curriculum standard that will be assessed. When a teacher is passionate about something, it shows in their instruction and their enthusiasm is contagious to the students. However, with there being so many limitations about what can be taught, that flame is extinguished and students often get regurgitated concepts that will be on a test. The curriculum guidelines are extensive and there never seems to be enough time for students to gain mastery before moving on to the next concept.
Proverbs 16:16 says that it is better to get wisdom than it is to get gold (American Bible Society, 2002). Of course, this isn’t to say that all knowledge is righteous. But the quest for the truth is encouraged, even in the bible. To gain that knowledge, it is helpful to explore all sides of an issue to make decisions about a topic. Limiting the information that can be discussed just makes a person unable to get a complete picture and thus reduces their ability to attain mastery of subjects.
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